Author: Chris Conley, Go To Nations Short Term Missions Director
Summer is always an exciting time for us. We know that we are going to be very busy getting as many people as we can squeeze in the mission house the for the short –term missions experience. Running from orphanage to orphanage, making crafts for VBS, dashing to airports before most people are awake, praying for people through a translator, feeding hungry children, ministering in churches, laughing, crying, and loving become the life for these days. Short-term missions are great. Short-term missions really are for everyone. They challenge you and change you for the better.
For short-term missions to work and work well, it has to be like a great song. So, how do we make that happen? I’m glad you asked! It takes some effort. The main thing is the team going. There are other factors but let’s look at us, the team going. Let’s take it all the way down to the individual members of the team. If the team is solid most other things will fall into place. You will have the beginnings of a great song that point the nations to Jesus.
Now, all great songs must have a great rhythm. If I was to say “make it perfect” we need a solid rhythm. To get a solid rhythm we need to identify a few things that make an awesome team member and a few things that make a less than awesome team member. Let’s narrow it down to three each. If you have ever gone on a short-term mission trip you know that it could be many more so this may not be a full list but it’s a start to the song. It will form the start of the rhythm for us.
Let’s start with the less than awesome. These are things that interrupt the rhythm. They make the song hit the wrong tempo and then all of a sudden we’re off key and instead of great song we have an awful noise that sounds something like Scuttle from The Little Mermaid.
1) Complainers! Look, we know it’s hot. We are here too. We know the food is different. We ate as well (without complaining). We know the internet is 1997 level dialup slow. I can’t watch the YouTube video either. Don’t complain about it. It won’t magically change it. Complaining makes it harder for everyone to feel the rhythm.
2) Rhythm is a game of follow the leader. We don’t always like to follow. We all have 687 questions. Just like you we all want to ask “why”. To get our rhythm we need to follow the rhythm section. The leader is the rhythm section. Go with the rhythm. Asking 687 questions makes us all lose the rhythm.
3) You will be fed. You will be fed food that is good. If you don’t like it or can’t eat it there will something available. Ten minutes after breakfast is never a good time to ask about what is for dinner (ask your mom about that). Don’t be that guy. When we worry about another part of the song before we get to it we lose the rhythm.
Ok, so what about an awesome team member? What makes an awesome team member? Here are a few things that make a great team member with great rhythm that makes a great song.
1) They are a joiner. They join in the rhythm. They join right in the beginning. They join at the right time. They go with the flow of the rhythm. They do their part and they play the rhythm.
2) They see the beauty in the other parts of the music. When you are in a different place, a different culture, with a different language the rhythm might be a challenge. An awesome team member sees the beauty in that part of the song. They see the other parts of the music, they see how it’s a great song and needs all of the rhythm.
3) They encourage others to hear the rhythm. They help others find it. They play in a way others want to join in. They make others want to be in the rhythm.
There you have it. A great start to a song. It is the song of short-term missions that is a worship song played over the nations to God. This is the rhythm. This is the song. Come play with us.
Author: Chris and Sheila Conley have spent over 20 years serving the body of Christ through a variety of pastoral and equipping ministries. They, along with their 4 kids, joined GTN in 2011 and moved from Cincinnati, Ohio to Jacksonville, Florida to serve in the World Headquarters as the Director's of Short Term Missions. When Chris isn’t taking Jesus to the nations you can find him enjoying family time and all things Star Wars.